UPDATE: Identity Theft and Check Fraud Ring May Get Bounced into Jail: Hundreds of Victims in Criminal Scheme

As a follow up to my earlier post, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has announced a 227 count indictment of 18 individuals in an identity theft and check fraud scheme. As I correctly noted in the original post, these defendants are alleged to have perpetrated a scheme involving the crimes of Grand Larceny, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, Identity Theft, Conspiracy, Unlawful Possession of Personal Identification Information and Scheme to Defraud. As a former Manhattan prosecutor who was one of the first assigned to the Identity Theft Unit upon its creation, I know the Identity Theft Unit will vigorously and thoroughly prosecute the alleged offenders. Depending on the individual and their applicable charges, the defendants face up to 25 years in state prison.

The defendants include:

Jasper Grayson, a/k/a “Lyte,” James Malloy, a/k/a “Sal” and a/k/a “Sah,” Lamott Matthews a/k/a “L,” Allahson Clay, a/k/a “Reefy,” Albert Paulin, a/k/a “AB,” Lance Paulin, a/k/a “LA,” Alvin Joseph, a/k/a “Scooter,” Edward Johnson, Jr., a/k/a “Big Mike,” Larry Garcia, a/k/a “Spanish Larry,” Raymond Penn, a/k/a “Charlie,” Raven Moses, Sheena Poindexter, Renece Razor, Ilaura Walker, Keisha Polonio, Christopher Deboer, Tauheed Mitchell and Kelly Snider.

Prosecutors allege that:

“[T]he defendants obtained personal and bank account information belonging to 500 identity theft victims and used it primarily to manufacture thousands of counterfeit checks. By fraudulently cashing and depositing the counterfeit checks, the defendants stole over $1.4 million from one bank’s accounts and substantial additional sums from other banks. Victims of this scam included private individuals, corporations, religious institutions, hospitals, and schools, as well as city and state government agencies.”

It is further claimed that:

“The defendants regularly acquired the necessary data to generate counterfeit checks with the help of bank employees recruited to participate in the operation. These employees, often tellers, had access both to the banks’ computer systems and to large numbers of valid checks processed during legitimate customer transactions. In return for cash payments, the recruited tellers photocopied valid customer checks and printed out copies of customer profiles, which contained the customers’ names, addresses, social security numbers, bank account numbers and account balances.”

“Search warrants into two locations associated with the defendants revealed “a desktop computer, blank check stock, stolen customer profiles from various banks, payroll stubs, copies of legitimate checks, hundreds of counterfeit checks, ledgers with names of [individuals who cashed fraudulent checks] and amounts stolen on various dates, check-making software, fake state identification cards and credit cards issued in the names of identity theft victims.”

As is the case for each of these defendants, those charged with a crime are innocent until proven guilty. An indictment is not evidence of guilt. However, it is imperative to recognize that an indictment is extremely significant and points towards an intense legal battle ahead for each of these defendants. Regardless of the crime, you should always retain experienced criminal counsel to fight to protect your rights, liberty and integrity. Crotty Saland PC is ready and able to do just that.

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